As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.- Proverbs 27: 17
I can recall many painful days when this was true in our home. It was hard to see the sharp, serrated corners of my heart, until they encounter another.
It was easier to point out and see the barbed, hardened heart of my child, than to recognize my own.
It was easier to shift blame on circumstances and trauma and choose to be angry towards things I could not control, rather than allow God to grind away my sharp-edged self.
Shifting blame never works. Denial does not produce results.
Selfish love reflects only an illusion of love back.
Reaching a child’s heart that seems to be unwilling or unreceptive to every attempt to draw them in, to a closer and deeper relationship, can become not only wearisome but excruciatingly painful as well.
Repeated rejection cuts deep. Fear, insecurity, and doubt started bleeding out of me, creating a vicious cycle. Unless God is binding up the wounds, it can feel like an eternally hopeless case.
Often, I found myself on my knees before the Lord, asking for guidance, asking for strength, asking for wisdom, but mostly asking for an easier way out than the still, small voice I was hearing in the answer to my prayers.
O Jerusalem Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! – Matthew 23:37
When we reject God, with unrepentant, defiant – hardened heart, God does not reject us. He pursues us, despite all we’ve done or will ever do. Nor does His desire to comfort, hold, and have a relationship with us diminish based on our performance or ability to love equally, or remotely close to His level.
It’s no surprise that the still small voice whispers in our hearts to love like that.
To keep seeking, to keep loving, to keep trying and pressing in despite the hurt, despite the rejection, despite all the reasons we tell ourselves not to.
One small step of faith at a time, God grew the love slowly and softly, with neither of us able to distinguish the starting point.
It came and flowed like a soft summer breeze.
It looked like: an extra moment of reading a book, doing a puzzle, taking a walk, or building a LEGO castle, when everything within me wanted to escape. An extra snuggle, hug, or smile, shortly after an emotional or physical rejection took place.
Strung together, with lots and lots of prayer, forgiveness, transparency and grace (mostly grace) a relationship began to form.
Love began to grow when I came to the place where all our glorious and worthwhile beginnings take root: at the foot of the cross. When I practiced dying to self over and over and over again. Not perfectly, sometimes extremely reluctantly, and sometimes, embarrassingly enough, with so much fakeness I was sure I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, but JESUS. He takes the crumbs; He takes the two loaves and makes it enough to feed thousands. (Mark 6:1-13).
Out of a crowd of thousands, He picks one little boy and his small lunch, to show us that not only can He use the smallest amount of resources to make abundant miracles, but He can use us too. Those of us that so often get overlooked by the crowd, with seemingly so little in our hands, obvious to all– not enough.
I am like that little boy. With so little to give, knowing it can NEVER be enough, but trusting that as I stretch out my hands with the little–God will do the impossible.